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Mouth Sores


Mouth Sores London

Mouth Sores Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Mouth sores, also called canker sores or aphthous ulcers, are small shallow lesions in the base of the gums or soft tissues in the mouth. These sores are usually painful, making eating and talking difficult.

Mouth sores are common, but they usually heal after 1 -2 weeks. However, if the sores are persistent, large and painful, you may have to visit your dentist.

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Your healthcare provider does not need to order any test to diagnose mouth sores since a visual exam is sufficient for its diagnosis. However, you may need some tests to check for conditions that cause your mouth sores, especially if the sores are persistent and severe.


Most times, treatment is not necessary for minor mouth sores because they clear on their own within one or two weeks. However, persistent, large and usually painful sores need treatment. Several treatment options are available, and your healthcare provider will recommend the most suitable.

Common treatments include the following;

Mouth rinses

If the sores are many, your doctor may recommend using a mouth rinse that contains steroid dexamethasone to minimise the inflammation or lidocaine to relieve the pain.

Topical products

You can also apply over-the-counter prescription products such as liquids, gels, pastes or creams on the individual sores to relieve the pain and aid in faster healing. These OTC products usually contain the following;

  • Fluocinonide (Vanos, Lidex)
  • Benzocaine (Orabase, Kank-A, Zilactin-B, Anbesol)
  • Hydrogen peroxide (Orajel antiseptic mouth sore rinse, Peroxyl)

Other topical products without these active ingredients are available to treat mouth sores. You should consult your doctor or dentist to recommend a suitable one.

Oral medications

Your healthcare professional may prescribe oral medication when the mouth sores are severe and topical treatments cannot treat them.

Oral medications for mouth sores include:

  • Oral steroid medications in cases where the sores do not respond to other treatments, but they cause serious side effects
  • Medications that are not explicitly intended for mouth sores, such as intestinal ulcer treatment sucralfate (Carafate) used as a coating agent and colchicine used to treat gout
Cautery of Sores London

Cautery of sores

During cautery, the healthcare professional will use a chemical substance or instrument to burn the tissues.

  • Debacterol is a topical solution that treats gum problems and mouth sores. Using its topical solution helps reduce the healing period to about one week
  • Silver nitrate is another solution used in chemical cautery of mouth sores. Although it relieves pain from mouth sores, it may not speed up the healing
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Nutritional supplements

You may need nutritional supplements if you take low amounts of essential nutrients such as zinc, folic acid, vitamin B12 and B6.

Treatment for other health problems

If your mouth sores are due to more severe health conditions, your doctor will recommend treatment for the underlying condition.

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Lifestyle and home remedies

The following tips can relieve mouth sore pains and speed up healing;

  • Use baking soda rinse (one teaspoon of baking soda in half a cup of warm water) or saltwater to rinse your mouth
  • Avoid acidic, spicy, or abrasive foods that may cause more pain and irritation
  • Gently brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste without a foaming agent
  • Apply ice to the sores and allow the ice cubes to dissolve over the sores slowly
  • Apply milk of magnesia on the sores a couple of times daily

Preparing for your appointment

Depending on the appearance of your mouth sores, the dentist or doctor can reach an accurate diagnosis. While getting ready for your appointment, ensure you have the following information;

  • List out your symptoms, including when they started and if they have changed or worsened
  • List other medical conditions you have to see if they have similar symptoms to mouth sores
  • Changes you have experienced recently
  • List all your medications, including vitamins, supplements, over-the-counter and prescribed medication
  • Did you have recent dental work?
  • What is your usual daily diet?
  • Have you been stressed lately or had major life changes?
  • What are your symptoms?
  • Have you had similar mouth sores in the past? If yes, have you noticed what triggers them?
  • Do you have any medical conditions?
  • Have you received treatment for sores in the past? If yes, what treatment worked best?
  • Do you have a family history of mouth sores?
  • What medication are you taking?

Visit Smile Clinic London today or call 020 7139 8611 to schedule an appointment with our dentist if you are experiencing painful or recurring mouth sores.